Central Banker’s Bankit lands another stakes in Thunder Rumble

Sunday, December 4th, 2022

Bankit and Jose Lezcano, winners of Sunday’s Thunder Rumble division of the NYSS. Joe Labozzetta/NYRA Photo.

Bankit returned to the form that landed him a stakes victory in August and a championship last year with his seventh stakes victory in Sunday’s $121,250 Thunder Rumble division of the New York Stallion Series Sunday at Aqueduct.

Bankit also bounced back from a defeat to Somelikeithotbrown in the off-the-turf West Point Stakes in late August at Saratoga, defeating that foe by 3 1/4 lengths with 2021 champion New York-bred male sprinter My Boy Tate another 3 1/4 lengths back in third. Jose Lezcano rode the 6-year-old son of leading New York sire Central Banker to victory for trainer Steve Asmussen.

“He’s a nice horse,” Lezcano said of last year’s New York-bred champion older dirt male. “I’ve ridden him about three or four times and every time I’ve ridden him, he’s given me a good effort.”

Bankit turned in another good one Sunday and picked up an additional $68,750 toward his already seven-figure bankroll. The leading earner for leading New York sire Central Banker, Bankit came out of the Thunder Rumble with career earnings of $1,258,405 from a record of 8-11-5 in 36 starts.

Toby Sheets, Asmussen’s year-round assistant in New York, has been around the 6-year-old for several seasons when he’s been at Belmont Park and knows what it takes for Bankit to deliver his usual top effort.

“He’s been doing phenomenal,” Sheets said. “He loves it here and he loves Belmont and loves the track there. He’s just been doing really well. I know his little ins and outs and he looks like a summer horse today – he had a glow about him.”

Sent off as the 2-1 third choice in the field of five behind 7-5 favorite My Boy Tate and 8-5 second pick Somelikeithotbrown, Bankit broke on top but Lezcano was content to let Somelikeithotbrown take the lead up the backstretch. Somelikeithotbrown, a 6-length winner over Bankit in the West Point, led through opening splits of :23.13 and :46.29 with Bankit just to his outside. Chowda and My Boy Tate raced as a team behind those two.

Bankit poked a head in front just past the half-mile mark and turned for home in front. He opened up a 2-length lead in midstretch and widened from there, winning in 1:23.24 over the muddy and drying out main track. Bankit added the Thunder Rumble to his victory in the Evan Shipman Stakes in August at Saratoga this season.

“He broke pretty well,” Lezcano said. “Other times, I feel like he’s a better horse when he’s on the outside. He broke pretty clear and put him right there and when I asked him, he kicked on and won the race. He had no one outside of him, so he felt more confident. He jumped into the bridle right away and when I asked him, he went on with it.”

Bred by Hidden Brook Farm LLC and Blue Devil Racing and foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs, Bankit is campaigned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing. He’s the first foal out of the Colonel John mare Sister in Arms and originally sold out of the Hidden Brook consignment to SGV Thoroughbreds for $85,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale.

Bankit was purchased by Winchell Thoroughbreds for $260,000 at the 2018 OBS March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training sale.

Central Banker, a 12-year-old Grade 2-winning son of Speightstown, will stand the 2023 season for $7,500 at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds. He was well clear on the New York general sire list – which he also topped in 2021 after a runner-up in 2020 – with progeny earnings of more than $4.68 million heading into Sunday.

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